The application of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technologies in cell based strategies, for the repair of the central nervous system (with particular focus on the spinal cord), is moving towards the potential use of clinical grade donor cells. The ability of iPSCs to generate donor neuronal, glial and astrocytic phenotypes for transplantation is highlighted here, and we review recent research using iPSCs in attempts to treat spinal cord injury in various animal models. Also discussed are issues relating to the production of clinical grade iPSCs, recent advances in transdifferentiation protocols for iPSC-derived donor cell populations, concerns about tumourogenicity, and whether iPSC technologies offer any advantages over previous donor cell candidates or tissues already in use as therapeutic tools in experimental spinal cord injury studies.
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